attracting pollinators to the vegetable garden

image

 

This year my garden has taken on new life. On a whim, I planted an entire 4×8 raised bed with nothing but flowers. I wanted to add more beauty to my garden and create a zen space where I could enjoy my morning coffee. I believed that adding flowers would be the change I needed.

I searched online for the best flowers to attract pollinators. But in addition to being pollinator-friendly, I also wanted to plant long-blooming flowers that:

1) grow well in my zone

2) are annuals (so I could plant something else in the bed next year)

3) produce colorful blooms

and

4) yield lovely cut flowers for my kitchen counter arrangements.

DSC_0017

 

So based on my wish list, I bought zinnias, butterfly weeds, butterfly flowers, and poppies. I prepared my raised bed by adding bags of organic garden soil and a couple of buckets of compost from my tumber-style bin. I tilled the soil well and hand spread the seeds. I lightly raked the dirt from one side of the raised bed to the other to cover the seeds with about 1-2 inches of soil. Then I watered the bed using the “shower” setting on the spray nozzle. I wanted to dampen the soil without disturbing the delicate seeds underneath. I watered regularly in the mornings and waited for the seeds to sprout.

I’m amazed at the beautiful butterflies and bees that visit my garden now. I can’t resist taking photos of the different butterflies as they dance from bloom to bloom feeding and pollinating plants along the way. I have to be very quiet in their presence, or else they fly away.

image

 

Enjoying the beauty of the butterflies and capturing their visit with my camera is a calming and rewarding moment in an otherwise hectic day.

Happy gardening,

Tonya